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Journal Articles BioEssays Year : 2017

Offspring sex ratio in mammals and the Trivers‐Willard hypothesis: In pursuit of unambiguous evidence

Abstract

Can mammalian mothers adaptively control the sex of their offspring? The influential Trivers‐Willard hypothesis (TWH) proposes that when maternal condition increases the fitness of sons more than that of daughters, the proportion of sons produced should increase with maternal condition. Studies of mammals, however, often fail to support this hypothesis. This article highlights recent advances, including studies on the assumptions of the TWH and physiological mechanisms for sex‐ratio manipulation. Particular emphasis is placed on how factors such as paternal quality, maternal reproductive costs and environmental conditions experienced by mothers early in life can mask/alter the expected relationship between maternal condition and offspring sex ratio or lead to apparent support for the TWH. While there is growing evidence that sex ratio around conception may be maternally and paternally manipulated, a challenge for future studies on sex allocation is to integrate how multiple and potentially opposite selective pressures affect offspring sex ratio.
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hal-04298232 , version 1 (21-11-2023)

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Mathieu Douhard. Offspring sex ratio in mammals and the Trivers‐Willard hypothesis: In pursuit of unambiguous evidence. BioEssays, 2017, 39 (9), ⟨10.1002/bies.201700043⟩. ⟨hal-04298232⟩
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